Many of us in the Bay Area are unusually obsessed with food and freely admit it. Still, the extent of our obsession can even take me by surprise.
The Thursday morning San Rafael farmers' market in Marin County is a joy. Relatively mellow and full of the area's best farmers, it's a very pleasant experience. Plus, odds are good that you'll run into a well-known chef or two purchasing fruits and vegetables for their restaurants.
Back to the Bay Area food obsession. While tasting stone fruits at the Kashiwase Farm booth recently, trying to find my favorite nectarine, a nearby four-year old walked up with his mother. "Mom, remember last week I liked the Flavor Kings the best," he reminded her. I had to laugh. Is the level of our obsession so great that kids not only know about pluots, but can identify their favorite varietal? To me, it's a refreshing scene—I'd much rather the four-year olds identify fruit varietals than the Jonas Brothers.
Cherry Tomatoes in Action
Over the past few years, I've avoided cherry tomatoes. So ubiquitous and overly sweet, they are usually inferior to the more acidic, complex heirloom tomatoes. But this season, I find myself returning to cherry tomatoes, inspired by creative uses at local restaurants.
Recently, a group of us tasted the delicious Sungold Zinger at Range in San Francisco. This cocktail—perfectly balanced and easily my best cocktail experience recently—is made from local 209 gin, Sungold tomatoes, agave nectar, and lemon. Lucky for us, Anita at Married with Dinner has posted a recipe for her rendition of the Sungold zinger.
Not long after, I had an excellent pizza at Pizzeria Delfina using cherry tomatoes—an extremely simple preparation of just tomatoes and ricotta salata. We added pepperoni for an even more satisfying combination.
I'm looking forward to more great cherry tomato preparations at home. That is, if I can keep them around that long—so far, I've been eating them straight out of my hand and they never make it to the dinner table.
Seasonal Produce Guide
Tomatoes of all types
Many more varieties of peppers
It's Time To Put Up
Nectarine & Peach Jam
Pickled summer squash
Canned tomatoes for the winter
About the author: Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. She is the founder and editor of the Eat Local Challenge website and writes at Life Begins at 30, her personal weblog.